Iraq Seeks to Import Goods worth $2b from Egypt
Iraq said Wednesday it wants to import $2 billion of goods from Egypt this year after signing a free trade agreement in January, reported the Gulf News daily.
Two billion dollars have been allocated in 2001 for trade with Egypt, Iraqi trade minister, Mohammed Mehdi Saleh, told reporters after talks in Cairo with Egyptian Prime Minister Atef Ebeid, said the Daily.
The meeting focused on activating last month’s free trade protocol between Egypt and Iraq, he added.
Egyptian officials had previously said they expected the free trade agreement, which was signed in Cairo in January, to boost Egyptian exports to Iraq to $1b a year, said AFP.
Total value of Egyptian exports to Iraq since 1995 have stood at $1.3b added the agency.
The Iraqi minister said he had outlined the needs of the Iraqi market which included vehicles, food, construction materials and industrial products during his meeting with Ebeid.
“We have signed contracts for the import of large and medium-sized vehicles from Egypt,” Saleh said.
Egypt’s economy minister, Youssef Boutros Ghali, postponed a visit to Iraq last week which had been designed to activate the free trade deal, AFP said.
He said the trip had been postponed so that Egypt could prepare lists of commodities to meet all of Iraq’s needs within the framework of the UN oil-for-food program, according to the agency.
Iraq, under trade sanctions since it seized Kuwait, can import within the limits set out by the UN oil-for-food program.
Since the agreement with Egypt, Iraq has signed a similar deal with Syria and a draft agreement with Jordan. It has also expanded trade ties with Thailand – Albawaba.com